Investing in Women & Peace: The Stories of Women’s Essential Roles Shaping Peace Processes Worldwide

As part of Geneva Peace Week 2023 Digital Series, Inclusive Peace has collaborated with Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF) to host five podcast episodes where women peacebuilders from around the world discuss and exchange their experiences in promoting women’s participation and influence in shaping local and national peace processes.

Each episode brings forward two women peacebuilders from very different parts of the world. Their compelling conversations highlight the shared experiences of women navigating the field and what that looks like in different social and political contexts and across different cultural norms. They also discuss the challenges they face and what strategies and mechanisms they have adopted to overcome and ameliorate the situation for local women.

In Episode 1 of the podcast series, Thania Paffenholz, Executive Director of Inclusive Peace, sets the stage for the series as she discusses the changing nature of formal peace processes from the early 90s which have shifted from being comprehensive and intergovernmental to national dialogue processes, which are more broad-based and participatory. She also talks about the implications of women’s participation within the peace processes since the dissipation of the so-called ‘peace table’.

In Episode 2 of the series, Breifni Flanagan from WPHF is joined by Sophie Giscard d’Estaing, Program Coordinator at WPHF, where they discuss how current trends in peace processes affect the work at WPHF and provide examples of women’s initiatives that the Rapid Response Window has supported more recently.

In Episode 3 of the series, moderator Breifni Flanagan from WPHF is joined by Salwa Elsdaik who has managed projects on women, peace and security for the Dutch National Action Plan for resolution 1325 on Sudan and Vimbai Kapurura, Executive Director of Women Unlimited Eswatini. They discuss the linkages between protection and participation of women peacebuilders in contexts where protection needs recently have become more acute.

In Episode 4 of the series, moderator Breifni Flanagan from WPHF is joined by Hilda Issa who is a Palestinian activist working on empowering young women to advocate for women’s rights and with Concy Louis who works in rural communities in Uganda and South Sudan. They discuss how young women and girls are affected by armed conflict and the importance of and challenges to women’s inclusion in peace processes. They speak about the marginalisation that Palestinian women face and how this landscape makes them more susceptible to violence as well as how the shrinking of civic spaces in South Sudan limits young people’s ability to participate.

In Episode 5 of the series, Sartu Shemsuddin, Founder of Fratello Humanitarian Organisation and former member of the interreligious council of Ethiopia and Natalia Brandler who is the founder of Asociación CAUCE, dedicated to training and empowering Venezuelan Women leaders, exchange on the challenges and opportunities of women’s participation in national dialogues, focusing particularly on the role and situation of women’s civil society organisations.